The Berea Municipal Utilities and the Berea Fire Department (BFD) share an important partnership when it comes to fire hydrants. BMU owns and maintains most fire hydrants within the BMU water service area. Annually, usually in the spring, BMU performs regular maintenance on hydrants to remove sediment and rust from the water and maintain proper chlorine concentrations by flushing the lines.
The flushing process removes naturally occurring minerals and sediment that build up in water mains over the course of the year and allows us to collect key data about the system. When you see water running down the street as crews work on fire hydrants, it may appear to waste water. Actually, this important preventative maintenance activity maintains the integrity of the water system and allows us to continue to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers.
Berea Fire Department also flushes the hydrants annually to test for property flow capacity. Usually done in the fall, the fire department checks and records water pressure to confirm the system operates as it should. By opening each fire hydrant in the water distribution system, they ensure each one is properly maintained and available for use in the event of a fire.
If you see BMU or BFD personnel flushing hydrants, please drive carefully and watch for workers in or near the roadway. In addition, the roads will be wet and the water may pond in low-lying areas for a short period of time.
When hydrant flushing is occurring in your area, you may notice slightly yellow, orange, or brown-colored water coming from your faucet. If this happens, simply run your cold water tap for three to five minutes. If the water is still discolored, wait about 30 minutes and run the water again. This temporary discoloration only affects the appearance of the water – it does not cause a health or safety risk. If pressure seems low after flushing is finished, check your faucet for trapped particles.
While the water is safe to drink, you should avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing times, as the flushed sediment could discolor white clothing. Wait until the water runs clear at the tap, then wash a load of dark clothes first. You should also avoid using hot water until the cold water runs clear.
If you experience discoloration for a prolonged time or if you experience a significant loss of water pressure after hydrant flushing has occurred, please call BMU at 859-985-4391.